Through the public consultation process tourism emerged as an area of importance for strategic development as part of the Port’s Vision 2020 project.
It is widely acknowledged that there is very little tourism in Portarlington currently. The infrastructure for tourism in terms of local accommodation, good restaurants and
identifiable tourist destinations packaged as a product are not available. The only identifiable product currently is the French Festival. It is not clear whether this has become a local festival and or if it attracts visitors to the town.
However, many of the elements and resources required for a successful tourism industry are present in the proximity of Portarlington including Emo, Carrig Spire, French
Huguenot connections, the local landscape, transport infrastructure, The Heritage Golf and Spa Resort, good golf courses and so on.
Tourism in Portarlington is not packaged for visitors nor is there any communication vehicle such as a town website to offer information to any potential visitors.
Developing a tourism sector in Portarlington is going to be a difficult task in the short term. However, if the Garryhinch project gets the go ahead tourism might be a strong
sustainable contributor to the local economy in terms of job security and economic activity.
To put tourism in context for Portarlington, 70% of tourism in Ireland is centred in 30% of the area of Ireland. Very little of this is in the midlands. Tourism is typically
centered on the costal areas of the west and south east, cities and inland waterways.
Portarlington is in the midlands and has virtually no tourism sector. This factor must be overcome to achieve success in the sector.
The central question for Portarlington as a tourist hub is as follows:
What could/would Portarlington do with Tourism?